For 39 weeks I carried you. Beansprout was the name we gave you. Genderless for 18 weeks. I felt like I knew you even then. I loved you more with every kick, every roll, every bout of hiccups. We already gave you an identity, imagined what you would be like. We were told we had lost you at 6 weeks, but two weeks later we saw the amazing flicker of your heartbeat which proved it was incorrect. This combined with a few bouts of reduced movement made us picture you as rambunctious, a whirlwind that would have us wrapped around their little finger.
You came into the world on a Saturday evening. I would describe my labour as intense but peaceful. I was shell-shocked when you arrived. Tired, but roaring with adrenaline. You were wriggly, squishy, grunty. I couldn’t take my eyes off you as my heart felt so full of love I thought it might burst. I didn’t sleep for the whole two days we were in hospital. You struggled to latch to breastfeed and we were both poked and prodded by what felt like an army of nurses. Each one filled with positivity but only offering the same suggestions as the last. We brought you home at 3 days old and you slept in a cot next to our bed. It felt surreal and I was almost waiting for someone to come and take you away, and thank me for looking after you for this time.
The first 12 weeks were a haze. You and I were strangers, and I didn’t yet know your ways. You were brand new but so was I in my new identity as a mother. You were a crying mess with your undiagnosed allergies, and running on broken hours of sleep so was I. The days rolled in to one. Visitors came and went, I lost track of when I had last eaten or showered. Despite the struggles, my love for you grew each day. I felt like a mama bear and you were my cub, I had a fierce love for you and an overwhelming (sometimes psychotic) urge to keep you safe. My love for you was instinctual. One night, at 4 weeks old, we had a scare when you stopped breathing and we were blue lighted to hospital. I was stoic through the entire ordeal, even as I performed CPR on your motionless body, and it wasn’t until we returned from the hospital the following day with the all-clear that I sat on my bed and the flood gates opened. The reality of just how precious you were hit me like a ton of bricks and despite your short existence I could no longer imagine a world without you in it.
Your colic eased by 16 weeks. You had started smiling and it warmed my heart. You still weren’t much of a sleeper. Together we ventured out more. You were like my side kick, but it was tough. The days here passed in a blur. Lack of sleep started taking its toll on me. Christmas and new year came and went, and I remember these mainly from the photos that were taken – almost like I wasn’t actually there.
At 6 months you started to crawl, and it was a whole new ballpark. You were a fearless little thing who learned to climb pretty quickly. Always sporting a fresh bruise on either your leg or head, and I often couldn’t pinpoint exactly where it had come from. You said “mama” as your first word, and I melted. It was around this stage that I began to realise you loved me almost as much as I loved you.
Your personality really started to shine through and watching you learn new things filled me with pride. You are a funny little thing. You have no fear and love to climb. You keep me on my toes and you have me in stitches every day. My darling, I already imagine the brave and comical little girl you are going to grow into. One who is full of spirit (I get this impression from the cracking tantrums you already have, mainly over me stopping you from playing with the toilet brush). You are kind and inquisitive. You love other children, and you love to explore. Some little ones hang back when we all head to the park, but you are off. Picking up everything you find as you go (not always pleasant may I add). You willingly offer kisses and you share your food with daddy and I. You love to explore, but you’ll always check back every now and then for a quick cuddle.
I cannot believe you have been here for almost one year, longer if we include pregnancy. I can’t quite remember my care free life before you. Motherhood has changed me in so many ways, and life will never be the same again, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, you are a total joy and being your mother is an absolute blessing.